Chad Ochocinco (US PRESSWIRE)
New England Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco is finally starting to get with the program in New England. Learning a new new team's system doesn't come easy to some vets, but Ocho is buying into the program and the dividends are starting to pay off.
Ochocinco progressing with 1 exhibition left
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP)
Chad Ochocinco wants to get that look from Tom Brady, that quick glance
down the line of scrimmage from quarterback to receiver that sends
It's a look that comes with experience together, with Brady's
confidence that Ochocinco will figure out - and follow - those
''That look,'' said Ochocinco, a Patriot for just five weeks, ''that
look, man, is special and I've seen him do it a couple of times before
I was even here. You know, that's a deadly combination. It's a great
weapon to have to not give the defense any hint of what's going on.''
That connection takes time to develop. The most important work is done
So Brady and Ochocinco may not get to use it, if they play at all, in
New England's final exhibition game Thursday night against the New York Giants. But Ochocinco isn't frustrated that he's caught just two passes
during the preseason.
''Frustration's a waste of time,'' he said. ''It's a waste of energy.''
Ochocinco spent the past 10 years with the Cincinnati Bengals, his only
NFL team before being traded on July 28. He's confident he'll surprise
people who thought the learning process would drag on and hold him back
during the regular season.
''I'll be there a lot faster than when I'm supposed to be, especially
with as much verbiage as I've had to learn in such a short period of
time,'' he said. ''The transition has been extremely good.''
Brady, an expert at the offense he's led since 2001, seems pleased with
his new, flashy receiver.
''We communicate quite a bit,'' Brady said. ''That's what it takes. He
hasn't had the luxury of an offseason program that a lot of guys get
and so we're trying to really cram a lot of stuff in, but he's very
receptive to it. He's very competitive. He wants to do the right
The routes that receivers run for New England and Cincinnati are
similar, but the offensive communication is different, Patriots coach
Bill Belichick said.
''I can't really speak in specifics because I wasn't in Cincinnati,''
he said, ''but it really doesn't matter. Every player that has come
onto this team has come on from a different system, so they have had to
learn it and adapt to it, whether they're rookies or veterans. Nobody
is born here. They all come here from somewhere, so they have to learn
On a scale of 1 to 10, Ochocinco said he's at about a 7 on simply
reacting without thinking where to run.
''I'm able to go out right now and react as soon as I hear Tommy call
something,'' he said, ''but I'm still not set in that comfort zone to
where I can just be me. ... Let's be realistic. This is the highest
levels of football and this is not easy.''
The Patriots (2-1) are coming off a 34-10 loss at Detroit last Saturday
night after dominating their first two exhibition opponents, the
Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Giants (1-2) had just two days between Monday night's 17-3 loss to
the New York Jets - delayed two days because of Hurricane Irene - and
Thursday night's game.
''We have been doing a great job in New York of doing midstream
adjusting,'' Giants cornerback Corey Webster said. ''We had a couple of
times last year where we had some traveling arrangements and we got out
there and did a great job adjusting to them, so if we have to do it, I
don't think it will be a problem.''
First-stringers are expected to play little or not at all against the
Quarterback Eli Manning is going into his third season with Hakeem Nicks and fourth with Mario Manningham, his top two receivers.
''Mario has really played well in the preseason games and he stepped up
his understanding of the offense and his role,'' Manning said. ''And
Hakeem, the same thing. He knows what he's doing. Those guys are
Ochocinco's knowledge of the Patriots' offense keeps getting better
with a teacher as demanding as Brady.
''I ask him to be,'' Ochocinco said. ''Tom is on the field. He sees the
field the way I do. My eyes have to be his eyes and my ears have to be
his ears, and the faster Tom and I get on that same page the smoother
it's going to go, man. It's like a married couple.''
The marriage between the all-business Patriots led by the no-nonsense
Belichick and the fun-loving Ochocinco, with his colorful comments,
seems like an odd coupling.
''We are. I'm just different. I'm somewhat against the grain, just a
bit odd,'' Ochocinco said, standing at his locker with his gold
football shoes behind him. ''Opposites attract. It's reality, It's the
way it's always been. Therefore, I'll mesh well here with my teammates
(and) the coaches.''
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